, ,

GOP State Sen. Terry Moulton Won’t Seek Re-Election

2-Term Senator Represents 23rd District

Dave (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Chippewa Falls Republican state Sen. Terry Moulton announced Monday he plans to retire from the Wisconsin Legislature when his current term ends in December 2018.

In a written statement, Moulton said the decision not to seek a third term in the Senate was “difficult” but that he’s “looking forward to serving the community in new ways in the future.”

From the statement:

Stay informed on the latest news

Sign up for WPR’s email newsletter.

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

“When I began my campaign for the senate, eight years ago this month, my goals were to work for smaller government, reduced tax burden, and a better climate for jobs in Wisconsin. We have accomplished all this and more. Income and property taxes are lower, more people are working than ever before, and unemployment is at a 17 year low. I’m proud of what my colleagues and I have been able to accomplish during my time in the legislature …”

In an interview with WPR, Moulton said he plans on spending time working with youth ministries. Part of that will be working as a citizen to promote pro-life legislation he helped introduce in the Legislature, including a ban on research using fetal tissue from aborted babies.

“In the last session I had two bills regarding pro-life issues that I may be working behind the scenes to continue to see if we can’t get some of those things done,” said Moulton.

The two-term state senator said he was not worried about winning re-election even in the face of Democratic upsets in special elections in Wisconsin and across the nation. He said Democrats are ginned up and frustrated by some of the actions of President Donald Trump, but he hopes voters in his district focus on state Republican accomplishments like lowering taxes and lifting regulatory burdens on small businesses rather than on dysfunction in Washington.

“What’s going on at the federal level is a whole lot different than what’s going on in the state of Wisconsin,” said Moulton. “The federal level has got it’s own problems and certainly some of the things that President Trump has done has not maybe helped those of us in the Republican party.”

Lake Hallie Republican state Rep. Kathy Bernier’s office said she plans to run for the seat. Moulton tells WPR he plans on endorsing her at a later date.

Brian Westrate is the Republican Party Chair for the 3rd Congressional District. He said liberal Democrats are fuming over Hillary Clinton’s loss to Trump in 2016, but he doesn’t expect a Democratic wave to flip the 23rd state Senate District.

“I mean, they were incensed,” said Westrate. “So they put on their vagina hats and they marched in the streets for the next couple days, and have just been hot and bothered ever since. So, those people stayed hot and bothered for special elections. What counters them in the regular election year is the other 95 percent of the populace who come out and they vote too.”

Moulton is part of the state Senate’s 18-14 GOP majority, representing a district to the north and east of Eau Claire.

Moulton served two terms in the state Assembly before being elected to his first Senate term in 2010. This past session he served as chairman of the Senate agriculture committee.

Moulton’s decision not to run comes after Democrat Patty Schachtner upset Republican state Rep. Adam Jarchow for an open seat in northwestern Wisconsin’s traditionally red 10th Senate District. That seat was held by Republican Sheila Harsdorf and filled in the January special election.

Moulton is the fifth senator to decide not to seek re-election. Democrat Kathleen Vinehout is running for governor. Republican Leah Vukmir is running for U.S. Senate. Republican Frank Lasee resigned in December to join Gov. Scott Walker’s administration. Harsdorf quit in November to join Walker’s cabinet. Walker has refused to call a special election to fill Lasee’s seat.

Editor’s Note: This story was last updated at 5:41 p.m. Monday, March 19, 2018 to include quotes from a WPR interview with Moulton.